IME

The Latest News On the Teachers Strike

Автор: Adriana Mladenova / 31.10.2007

The good news

The subject about which the parties agreed during this week is the decentralization of the system of school and pre-school education and moving towards delegated budgets, where the schools become secondary level managers of the budgetary credits. Minister Valchev promised publicly that if he is the minister of education until the end of the school year there will be matriculation. Since for years the introduction of matriculation exams has been postponed for various reasons, which is delaying the development of the educational system in the country.

The bad news

In public discussion minister Oresharski stated that if the salaries of the teachers are increased by more than 70% under pressure and with public support, this is a clear indication that the society agrees to tax increase. Because in the current macro-frame, which is being prepared, there is no possibility to satisfy the requirements of the trade unions, without changes in the income part of the budget. Such development would be bad, since Bulgaria is moving in the right direction - reduction of the tax and social payments burden, facilitation of tax payments, more "market" and less "state". To lead such a policy, however, a clear public support and approval are required, which had not been observed in the last few months. More and more groups are making requests to the government not for more freedom and autonomy but for higher wages and larger share from the budget. While more money in the public sector distributed without any discretion means greater redistribution in the economy, as the state does not create value, it has to take it from somebody to give it to someone else.

Actually, delegated budgets, decentralization and autonomy of the schools are equal to higher wages for the people working in the system, since it will start functioning more efficiently and justly. However, by how much the wages of the teachers will be raised would depend on the skills of the headmasters to manage the schools, from the motivation of the teachers and the quality of education they offer.   Without competition and market it is impossible to have a just valuation of labor in any sector, including the education.

The teachers representatives, however, require specific amounts and firm promises for percentage increases of wages, here and now, and to have for everybody. For many years the state has been the only employer in this sector, which creates a culture of dependence and channels the thinking in a direction that it is the state's obligation to take care and ensure good quality of life and that is not a personal responsibility.

The truth is that the government could not increase drastically the wages in the public sector without this having a negative effect on the economy. The same as printing money does not mean enrichment of the population and the increase of the minimal wage does not fight poverty. Those pople have higher standard of living, which live in countries managed by the market principals: freedom of choice, personal responsibility and voluntary cooperation between people.